I had a FB conversation with some folks earlier this week concerning the creation of third parties. My view is that forging such an alliance would be difficult because of the ‘true believers’ in each group—particularly libertarians who would not compromise, expecting others to accept their platform entirely. As I scanned across my morning inbox, I found an article who mirrored my view.
The annual American Values Survey released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, indicated that 61% of libertarians would not accept association with the Tea Party. The differences between the two groups is startling once you begin to enumerate them.
Libertarians are in favor of abortion, the Tea Party is against abortion. The Tea Party are mostly church-going Christians with a strong Bible ethic, libertarians are not generally religious nor church-going. Libertarians support legalizing drugs, the Tea Party does not.
In fact, about the only consensus between the two groups, according to the article, is the demand for smaller government and lower taxes. There is some support among the two groups for the military. The Tea Party is strongly in favor of a strong, well-equipped military, the libertarians generally do not, believing a strong military will be used for ‘foreign adventures’—like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or, perhaps, Syria. The Tea Party believes fighting our enemies on their territory instead of ours. Both, however, strongly support the troops, the soldiers, sailors, marines and airman as individuals and as groups.
By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is often described as both a tea party member and a libertarian, but it turns out that most libertarians aren’t tea partyers.
In a surprising finding from one of the most sweeping surveys on the attitudes and beliefs of America’s libertarians, a majority of libertarians — 61 percent — said they did not consider themselves part of the tea party movement, according to the annual American Values Survey released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.
“This new research reveals a libertarian constituency in America that is distinct both from the tea party and from the Christian right,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the institute. “While conventional wisdom has assumed that the tea party movement is fueled by libertarian convictions, most libertarians see themselves as outside of the tea party movement.”
Libertarians, it turns out, are principled but not always easy to pigeonhole: A majority of libertarians support legal marijuana but not gay marriage, they would allow doctor-assisted suicide but wouldn’t raise the minimum wage, and they really, really, really don’t like Obamacare. There also are signs that libertarians are likely to take up a bigger slice of the American political spectrum.
Mr. Jones said the survey this year represents the first time the institute has asked about libertarians, and the timing is spot-on. In some polls ahead of Virginia’s gubernatorial election Tuesday, Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis is supported by a hefty 10 percent of voters, cutting into the base of Republican candidate Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II.
“I think we have a lot of growing interest in and activism among libertarians, but not a lot of data,” Mr. Jones said.
The difference between libertarians and tea partyers appears to boil down to attitudes about religion. Libertarians are about half as likely to see themselves as part of the Christian right movement as those who identify with the tea party, the survey found.
Libertarians represent about 7 percent of the Republican Party, less than the 20 percent of self-identified Republicans who consider themselves part of the tea party and barely a fifth of the 33 percent who identify with the religious right.
The survey found that the typical libertarian looks a lot like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Nearly 94 percent of libertarians are white, two-thirds are male and 62 percent are younger than 50.
Where libertarians and tea party members agree is economic policy, including support of limited government and lower taxes and opposition of the Affordable Care Act and additional environmental regulations. The survey, in fact, found that an overwhelming 96 percent of the libertarians polled have an unfavorable view of President Obama’s national health care law.
Where they disagree is social policy. As their name suggests, libertarians aren’t thrilled with government intervention on issues such as abortion, euthanasia and marijuana legalization. Nearly six in 10 libertarians oppose making access to abortions more difficult, while seven in 10 favor allowing doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives.
Among libertarians, 71 percent support legalizing marijuana, putting them at odds with a majority of Republicans. About 61 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of tea party members and 69 percent of white evangelical Protestants oppose legalizing marijuana.
Even so, libertarians are far more likely to be Republicans than Democrats. Nearly half — 45 percent — of libertarians identify as Republicans, and 5 percent call themselves Democrats. Another 8 percent are aligned with — surprise — the Libertarian Party, while 35 percent consider themselves politically independent.
The article continues at the website.
I know a number of libertarians. I agree with many of the planks in their political platform—but not all. I’m a Tea Partier. I also know my libertarians friends will read the column above and deny its validity all the while mirroring those same differences publicly and privately. If I reach back into my psycho-therapy days, I’d call it associative blindness.
What would it take for these two groups to ally with one another? One statement in the article may contain the kernel of that alliance: Both groups really, really, really oppose Obama and Obamacare. Perhaps it will be enough. After all, it took only a single issue to unite a number of factions that created the Republican Party in 1856—slavery. Perhaps, Obamacare, will be that single issue that unites the libertarians, the Tea Party and all the myriad other conservative groups into a singular, powerful political force to change the course of the nation.
It is also interesting, according to Rasmussen, that people evenly favor the Tea Party as do those who support Obama—both at 42%. So if the numbers of Tea Partiers equal Obama supporters, does that include libertarians? No, according to the article above. That means, collectively, Tea Partiers and libertarians, outnumber Obama partisans. The remaining 16% must be the establishment GOP and we don’t know which side they would support. If we listen to Boehner, McConnell and McCain, they’d side with Obama.